112: tapping into the vehicle-supported adventure community with frank ledwell of OutdoorX4

…You have to start off with what the brand is trying to achieve. And through channels like OutdoorX4 and really in permeating to the vehicle-based market, it’s all about selling lifestyle. A lot of folks, quite honestly are sitting behind a desk during the day. They’ve got a day job, they have their responsibilities during the day, and they’re looking for an outlet to go and spend a weekend or a week long or even a month long somewhere. And so by basically showcasing products and branding products in a way where you’re highlighting lifestyle, real lifestyle opportunity, that’s what creates engagement.”

Frank Ledwell

EPISODE PREVIEW:

I’ve got a great guest to share with you on this episode of the Channel Mastery podcast; you’re going to meet Frank Ledwell, founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at OutdoorX4 (pronounced “Outdoor by 4”). 

His title is an adventure lifestyle publication that caters to people who access adventure with their vehicles. Wait, isn’t that all of us? Well, yes and no. And that’s why I thought it would be so great to host Frank on the Channel Mastery podcast! 

Verde has a lot of clients who are hoping to genuinely serve people who classify themselves as “overland” fans, or more accurately, according to Frank, people who love to access adventure with their vehicles. 

Let’s be honest – we ALL access adventure with our vehicles, or have at some point. But for some reason, the communities are separate. I see that changing, as does Frank, and that’s what we explore in this episode. What’s more, you’ll get to discover the best channels to genuinely tap into the vehicle-supported adventure community, learn how and why they congregate and most important? Why the DIY-community is so powerful in this space. 

To Frank, “overlanding” is the blend between a road trip and backpacking. I couldn’t agree more. 

We would have been remiss not to touch on the rise of the electric vehicle and how it’s growing the vehicle-supported space in a huge way. This is a great show and I know it will give you the nudge you need to expand your community more intentionally to those who call themselves ‘overlanders.’

GUEST PROFILES:

Frank Ledwell

Frank Ledwell is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of OutdoorX4. In 2006, he co-founded, published and was Editor-in-Chief of JPFreek Adventure Magazine, and was involved with the publications through mid-2012. In 2016 and 2017, he was named a recipient of the “Excellence in Craft” award for magazine writing and photography, awarded annually by the Texas Auto Writers Association, for articles he wrote on traveling in Big Bend National Park as well as his review of the all-new Land Rover Discovery. He is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, the Texas Motor Press Association and the Texas Outdoor Writers Association. His articles on the off-highway travel, adventure destinations and product/vehicle reviews have been featured in numerous publications. 

Ledwell is an avid explorer, adventurer and advocate of responsible outdoor recreation and off-highway travel. He resides in Texas with his family.

TOPICS COVERED:

Overland, 4×4 Adventure, SEMA, Outdoor Recreation, Motorized Vehicles, DIY RV, DIY Movement

SELECT QUOTES:

“I like to think of overlanding as basically blending a road trip with backpacking, where the journey as the destination is wholly self-sufficient, and the vehicle platform is designed to be wholly self-sufficient while on an adventure. So in terms of backpacking and how that relates to backpacking, vehicles have a limited amount of space in them…You’re having to be very cognizant about how you’re filling that space because your vehicle is truly the tool to get you from one area to another area over a couple of days, over a couple of months, or even over a couple of years.”

“…You have to start off with what the brand is trying to achieve. And through channels like OutdoorX4 and really in permeating to the vehicle-based market, it’s all about selling lifestyle. A lot of folks, quite honestly are sitting behind a desk during the day. They’ve got a day job, they have their responsibilities during the day, and they’re looking for an outlet to go and spend a weekend or a week long or even a month long somewhere. And so by basically showcasing products and branding products in a way where you’re highlighting lifestyle, real lifestyle opportunity, that’s what creates engagement.”

“…Our primary goal of our editorial, has been to highlight the lifestyle of getting out and immersing yourself when you have the opportunity to, with the natural world. And there’s an aspect of genuinity that comes from that…. A lot of outdoors companies don’t realize that a lot of the products that are used on the vehicle side are products that their consumers in the outdoors have been using for years. We’ve found ways to integrate those products into the stories that we tell to add a genuine component to this lifestyle of getting out.”

“You can showcase a product in an ad, in a magazine or you can showcase a product in an ad on social media or at an event, but it’s another thing if you’re tying that product to an activity or a myriad of activities that make it relevant to a broad demographic and it’s done so in a way that compliments the opportunity to get out and enjoy the natural world.”

“I definitely feel like there is a lot of opportunity for outdoors companies to actively immerse themselves on the vehicle front and anything that I can do to help guide them along that way through our channels and through the channels of our peers and working collaboratively and collectively to, at the end of the day, get people outside and doing so responsibly, I’m absolutely for that. And I think that there’s a lot of benefit there that companies can absolutely garner long term.”

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